Game day for Callaway

Published 10:44 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

HOGANSVILLE –  It’ll be a Thursday-night test for the Callaway Cavaliers.

Callaway, after improving to 4-0 with last week’s 40-20 win over Upson-Lee, will reach the halfway point of the regular season with tonight’s home game against Harris County (2-2).

The game will put the wraps on a challenging non-region schedule for the Cavaliers, who are looking to win their 24th consecutive regular-season game.

Harris County fell to 2-2 with last week’s 49-22 loss to Perry, but it’s a team with an explosive offense.

In the season opener, Harris County beat Carver 46-45 in overtime, and it scored 30 points in a win over Shaw.

In Harris County’s most recent visit to Callaway Stadium, it scored 35 points in a preseason game against Troup.

Harris County is under the direction of second-year head coach Zach Howard, and he has the program moving in the right direction.

After spending 11 years as an assistant coach at Harris County, Howard took over as head coach a year ago.

The Tigers went 3-7 a year ago, and they lost to the Cavaliers 48-21 on their own field.

“Harris County, I know they had a young team (last year), and they’ll be a difficult opponent,” Callaway head coach Pete Wiggins said.

This will be Callaway’s fifth game of the season, and all five of those opponents play in higher classifications.

“For us being a Class AA, that’s really good competition,” Wiggins said.

That competition hasn’t posed any problems yet.

The Cavaliers have outscored their four opponents 145-33, and they’ve won each of their games by at least 20 points.

Callaway’s most challenging game to date came last week against a stout Upson-Lee squad.

While the Cavaliers ended up winning by 20 points, it was a seven-point game early in the fourth quarter before they pulled away.

Linebacker Jonathan Leonard, who had a monster night, finished things off with an interception return for a touchdown as time expired.

A strength of the Callaway offense has been its versatility, and that was on display against Upson-Lee.

Jacob Freeman had a 50-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Kedrick Ramsey, and a 66-yard scoring reception from Qua Hines.

Hines, Ramsey and DJ Atkins each had touchdown runs.

Hines, Atkins, and Cartsvious Bigsby give the Cavaliers a potent combination at running back.

“When I’m out of the game, there’s still a good running back in the game,” said Atkins, who ran for more than 2,000 yards last season. “I feel like we have a lot of options this year.”

After today’s game, Callaway is off until Oct. 5 when it begins Region 5-AA play.

The Cavaliers are going for a third consecutive region championship, and down the road, they’re hoping to make another deep playoff run.

A year ago, Callaway went 13-1 and reached the semifinals of the Class AA state playoffs.

“We have the mindset where if we play as a team, we’ll get where we need to be,” Hines said.